The CW’s upfronts 2019-20 – a rundown and clips from the new shows: Batwoman, Nancy Drew and Katy Keene

Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman
Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman © Jack Rowand/The CW

All through ‘upfronts’ week, TMINE will be revealing the new shows that are going to be hitting US TV screens from September 2019

It’s that time of year again – the ‘upfronts’. What’s that, I hear you ask?

What are the upfronts, TMINE?

It’s when all the US networks reveal to advertisers the new shows that are going to be hitting the TV screens some time from September 2019 through to nowish 2020. However, this isn’t the same as the international screenings, where buyers from TV networks around the world turn up to see what they’d like to acquire, so we won’t know what will be heading our way for quite some time.

This weekend, US TV networks killed off a whole bunch of existing shows (prompting howls of protest from their fans) and are about to commission a whole bunch of new shows (prompting howls of ‘you cancelled x for this rubbish?’ from said-same fans).

6. The CW’s upfronts

As is traditional, The CW is the last entry in upfronts week. That’s partly because it’s the smallest of the networks and didn’t even have programming seven nights a week until last year. But it’s also because it’s basically just an advert for shows made by CBS and Warner Bros, so naturally has to come after CBS’s upfronts session, just as Freeform’s doesn’t come before ABC’s.

Last year, as The CW was raring up to add an extra night of programming to its line-up, it commissioned a whole bunch of new shows to fill the schedule:

This year, it has a whole set of long-running shows about to retire, including iZombie, Supernatural and Arrow, so has taken the unusual and not especially brave step of renewing every single one of its other shows, so as to not leave any gaps. That means all it has to do this year is find replacements for the retirees and to do that, it’s gone to existing IP, rather than be too innovative.

Coming in the autumn, we therefore have:

  • Batwoman
  • Nancy Drew

And in mid-season:

  • Katy Keene

Want to know more and exactly when these (and the surviving old shows) will be airing? And do you want to get TMINE’s hottest of hot first takes? Follow me after the jump if at least one of those things interests you…

Coming in the Autumn…

Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman
Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman in Batwoman

Batwoman 

Ruby Rose (Orange Is the New Black, John Wick – Chapter 2) will make TV history, as the Greg Berlanti-produced DC Comics show is the first live-action scripted drama series with a lesbian superhero played by an out actress. She plays Kate Kane, the cousin of Bruce Wayne, who roams the streets of Gotham as Batwoman and must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to become the city’s symbol of hope. 

Also stars Dougray Scott, Elizabeth Anweis, Meagan Tandy, Camrus Johnson, Nicole Kang and Rachel Skarsten.

Time slot: 8pm Sundays

TMINE’s hottest of hot takes: This Batwoman has already been introduced to The CW’s Arrowverse via this season’s Elseworlds crossover. However, the show’s pilot has effectively wound time back a bit here to give the origin story for the character we’ve already seen, showing us how Kate Kane discovers her cousin was Batman and decides to assume his mantle, with the addition of a red wig.

Honestly, this doesn’t look that great and thanks to Elseworlds, I was actually more excited for it before I saw this trailer. It sits somewhere between Batman Begins and Gotham in turns of seriousness – or halfway between season one Arrow and The Flash, if you prefer – which isn’t a good thing. All the same, I’ll definitely be tuning in to see what they do with the character. If it’s no good, I’ll stick to Titans.

Nancy Drew
Kennedy McMann in Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew 

Following on from several movie efforts, as well as the classic 70s show, various networks have recently tried to adapt the classic ‘Carolyn Keene’ girl detective stories, with CBS trying to do up a grown-up Drew with Sarah Shahi in 2016 and NBC giving it a whirl with a more meta version in 2017.

Now Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl, Dynasty) have had a go and have actually got a series out into the world. Kudos, guys.

This follows an 18-year-old Nancy (Kennedy McMann) who thought she’d be leaving her hometown for college but winds up staying close to home after a family tragedy. Scott Wolf plays her dad.

Time slot: 9pm Wednesdays

TMINE’s hottest of hot takes: A good pedigree and they have a least gone for a ‘titian-haired’ Nancy as per the books, but it’s a pretty loose adaptation to say the least. And if turns out that there really are ghosts in this supernatural-looking version, I will burn the studio to the ground. I surely will.

Mid-season shows

Katy Keene
Ashleigh Murray and Lucy Hale plus two other young ladies in The CW’s Katy Keene

Katy Keene  

The Riverdale spinoff stars Pretty Little LiarsLucy Hale as the eponymous aspiring fashionista as she meets an adult Josie (of The Pussycats fame) (Ashleigh Murray) in New York. Also stars Julia Chan, Jonny Beauchamp, Camille Hyde, Lucien Laviscount, Zane Holtz and Katherine LaNasa.

TMINE’s hottest of hot takes: Based on the Archie comic of the same name, this looks a welcome change of style from the rest of the darker Riverdale/Sabrina universe – interestingly, this is a flashforward series, set years after the current events in those two shows. It also looks better than Hale’s previous CW show, Life Sentence. However, as trailers go, this one’s brief, so let’s not read too much into it.

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